The restored edition of Pride and Prejudice is available! You can get a copy of Pride and Prejudice: A Novel. In Three Volumes. (Annotated and Restored to 1813 Egerton First Edition) at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and hopefully soon Feedbooks. You may notice that it’s free everywhere except Amazon, and this is because Amazon does not let you automatically list books at $0. If you have a sec, please help me with my campaign to make it free at Amazon: here’s how. Because I’m not sure how long it will be before Amazon lowers the price, I decided to pursue Feedbooks as an option for getting it onto Kindles for free in the interim.
Making this edition required me to go through, line by line, a total of three times, and I picked up so many things in such a close reading of the novel. One thing that I’d always been a little curious about was this thought by Elizabeth: “I may enter his county with impunity, and rob it of a few petrified spars without his perceiving me.” Since I was also doing historical notes to go with the edition, I elaborated a bit on it within them, but it’s really something that needs photos for greater context. So here’s that greater context:
My modern American brain always registered “petrified spars” as something like petrified wood. Indeed, when I was in Derbyshire last year, I was always on the lookout for something that looked like petrified wood, and disappointed that it seemed I was not going to be able to rob Derbyshire of a few petrified spars myself. It seemed disappointing to me that no one realized Pride and Prejudice fans would be on the lookout for such things.
Turns out, however, that I actually did pick up some Derbyshire spar while I was there. It was only in subsequent reading about the county, after I got home, that I learned what was called Derbyshire spar then, is the Blue John stone that was sold everywhere in jewelry while I was there. Blue John stone is unique stuff: a rare form of fluorite only found in two caverns in Castleton, Derbyshire (a similar mineral has also been found in China, but it’s still under debate as to whether it is the same stone).
I went to Castleton, and though I didn’t go into either of the caverns where Blue John is mined (Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern), I did go to Speedwell’s Cavern and Peak Cavern. I’m planning to have a character with an interest in natural philosophy in the future, so it was great to go through Peak Cavern, which was open for visitors even in Regency times, although not quite so shored up from a health and safety standpoint – people had to lay in a coffin-esque box and be pushed down a stream to get into the cavern! (A better entrance was later created for Queen Victoria’s visit there.)
And while in Castleton, I picked up the necklace and stone on either side of the mineral card (that was a later find on eBay).
In Castleton, there are a large number of shops selling jewelry made from the stone, and it’s in that town where I picked up both the necklace and the polished stone. The jewelry can also be found in Bakewell. It was not, however, as common in Matlock as it must have been when Stephen Glover wrote about it in The Peak Guide: Containing the Topographical, Statistical, and General History of Buxton, Chatsworth, Edensor…., in 1830:
The amusements at Matlock are balls, and billiards, sailing on the river Derwent, exploring the various caverns, visiting the museums, the elegant spar shops, the botanical and Mr. Arkwright’s gardens, the latter being open to the public two days in each week, viz. Mondays and Thursdays, collecting rare fossils and botanical plants with which the neighbourhood abounds, taking pleasant rides among the surrounding rich scenery, sketching, fishing, &c. &c.
The offerings were more elaborate in the past, as well. You can still find bowls, goblets, etc. today, but nothing like these Regency era urns:
Castleton is a lovely little historic town, and I’d definitely recommend it if travels take you to Derbyshire. In addition to the many caverns, it also has Peveril Castle (hence the town’s name), operated by English Heritage. Warning: to reach it you have to walk up a huge hill!
If travels will not take you to Derbyshire, you can still rob it of a few petrified spars via Ebay or Etsy. Just search for “Blue John jewelry.”
And if you’re interested in learning more about the restored edition of Pride and Prejudice, please follow the blog tour:
July 27, My Vices and Weaknesses: Guest Post & Giveaway
July 28, Austenesque Reviews: Book Excerpt & Giveaway
July 29, My Love for Jane Austen: Guest Post & Giveaway
August 3, Just Jane 1813: Book Review & Giveaway
August 4, My Jane Austen Book Club: Guest Post & Giveaway
September 4, Diary of an Eccentric: Guest Post & Giveaway
September 5, Laughing with Lizzie: Book Excerpt
September 6, Savvy Verse & Wit: Book Review & Giveaway
September 12, Margie’s Must Reads: Book Review & Giveaway
September 14, More Agreeably Engaged: Guest Post & Giveaway
September 15, Babblings of a Bookworm: Book Excerpt & Giveaway